Support and Supervision

Standards and Regulations

Fostering Services National Minimum Standards (England) 2011:

Training, Support and Development Standards for Foster Care:

See also: Transfer of Foster Carers Protocol England (reissued 2015).

1. Introduction

As a foster carer you will be well supported to ensure that plans for children in your care remain in their best interests. You are an important part of the team around the child, who will also support you. You will be actively involved in planning for the children in your care, and your views are valued by the fostering service provider and will help to positively influence a child's progress.

You will face many challenges when you become a foster carer and you will also feel very rewarded when you see a placement progress in a positive way. Once approved you will be allocated a Supervising Social Worker. The primary task of the Supervising Social Worker is to supervise and support you to enable you to carry out your role as a foster carer. The support you receive from your Supervising Social Worker is also designed to help you to cope with the additional demands of fostering on your family life.

You will receive regular and effective supervision that is focused on children's experiences, needs, plans and feedback. Supervision is an important part of practice and as foster carers it is considered a key part of your training and development and an opportunity to reflect and learn from fostering experiences. Supervision also allows you time to consider complex dilemmas and give you space to think through and share strategies and ways of helping a child in your care with your Supervising Social Worker.

The Supervising Social Worker will ensure you have the necessary guidance including an understanding about working within the National Minimum Standards for Fostering and all the fostering service's policies, procedures and guidance.

The Supervising Social Worker will also work closely with the child's social worker.

There will also be a number of other places you can get support from including:
  • The child's social worker;
  • Other foster carers including Foster Carers' Support Group;
  • Other professionals;
  • Out of Hours advice.

It is the social worker for the child/young person in the foster placement who holds responsibility for specific advice or support for the child and their Care Plan and Placement Plan.

2. Regular Supervision Meetings

Frequency of supervision meetings will be agreed between you and your Supervising Social Worker and as appears necessary in the interest of the children placed with you. Your allocated Supervising Social Worker will agree times and dates. Each session will be recorded and you should receive a copy of this.

Supervision should be seen as a two way process to:

  • Ensure you are taking into account the child's wishes and feelings;
  • Ensure you have the opportunity to discuss any issues you have;
  • Help you to identify possible solutions to any issues;
  • Discuss any issues you may be having with your own children;
  • Ensure you understand how you contribute to Children Services objectives;
  • Give you feedback on your work to make sure you have the right skills and competencies;
  • Ensure you are accessing relevant training and resources and are working towards achieving the Training, Support and Development Standards within a year of approval;
  • Ensure you are working within the National Minimum Standards for fostering;
  • Sort out any financial or practical issues;
  • Keep you updated about new policies, procedures, training and good practice.

The supervision meetings will be an important part of collecting information for your annual review as a foster carer. The supervision session will be confidential; however, the Supervising Social Worker will discuss relevant information with the child's social worker, or other professionals working with the child or family.

As a foster carer, you are seen as a professional and both you and the Supervising Social Worker are expected to work within a framework of respect, honesty and trust.

Supervision helps you to evidence how you are developing, how you are meeting the National Minimum Standards and how you are providing an appropriate placement for the child/young person.

If you are not happy in any way with the arrangement or content of supervision, speak to your Supervising Social Worker or a manager from the Fostering Service.

Your Supervising Social Worker will do one unannounced visit per year. The main purpose of the unannounced visit will be to look at the home environment that a child is living in. This visit will be recorded.

You will be provided with information about what support will be available from the Fostering Service outside office hours, including the contact details.

3. What Your Supervising Social Worker Will Do

Your Supervising Social Worker should ensure the following tasks are done:

After Approval

  1. Ensure you complete the induction programme and that your support, development and training needs are assessed and met so that you meet the standards and achieve the Training, Support and Development Standards certificate of completion by your first annual review, or soon after if extra support is required;
  2. Give the Foster Care Agreement to you: 2 copies to be signed and one returned and placed on your file;
  3. Support you with any specialist issues for disabled children for e.g. support in completing applications for relevant entitlements etc.

Before Placement

  1. Complete risk assessments surrounding bedroom sharing (each child over 3 has their own bedroom or, where this is not possible, the sharing of the bedroom has been agreed by the child's social worker), mixing with other children in the home, etc.
  2. Discuss and check equipment (especially in the child's bedroom) and ensure it is appropriate to the age of the child to be placed;
  3. Take part in discussions about potential placements and planning meetings;
  4. Ensure that the child's social worker gives you full information about children, including a history of abuse or suspected abuse and the reason for the placement;
  5. Discuss contact with birth parents and family members;
  6. Discuss how the child's health needs are promoted and how children should be encouraged to adopt a healthy lifestyle;
  7. Help you in dealing with services such as health and education;
  8. Help you with training needs for safer care practice, including skills to care for children who have been abused or training on issues affecting disabled children;
  9. Discuss financial issues with you: allowances, pocket money, leisure activities, toiletries and travelling and the importance of your insurance policy;
  10. Find out about holiday plans you have made, and whether the child is going with you? If not the child's social worker must be informed so alternative arrangements can be made;
  11. Exchange contact numbers with all relevant members of the family, including out of hours support;
  12. Ensure that arrangements are made for the provision of specialist equipment for disabled children;
  13. Set a date for a first visit after a child is placed with you.

During Placement

  1. Check and follow up on all issues raised during the placement planning. Discuss any concerns with you and ensure appropriate support is provided straight away rather than waiting for reviews;
  2. Provide you with breaks from caring as needed, which must meet the needs of placed children;
  3. Take part in any Strategy Meetings and Section 47 Enquiry relating to your foster family. Be involved in interviews/support as agreed if allegations are made against you;
  4. Ensure you receive invitations to a child's Looked After Reviews and Child Protection Conferences, and attend when appropriate;
  5. Prepare for and attend your Review meetings;
  6. Ensure the training programme is updated and accessed by you and your family and children;
  7. Visit regularly;
  8. Make unannounced visits as required;
  9. Update Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks on members of your family every three years, including those reaching 18, and other persons who come to live at the home, who are 18 or over;
  10. Update medicals on you every 3 years or as necessary;
  11. Record all contact with you;
  12. Assess and review any health and safety issues within the fostering household including the addition of any new pets and the environment in which they are kept;
  13. Provide reports for panel as required under the relevant procedures;
  14. Where appropriate contribute to Court Reports as agreed with child's social worker;
  15. Discuss how you can support young people into adulthood.

At the End of a Placement

  1. Support your family in what can be a difficult time;
  2. Discuss with you and your family all the issues that have led to any unplanned end of a placement and identify any learning opportunities;
  3. Support you to complete an end of placement report;
  4. Attend Placement Disruption Meetings as required.

If your Supervising Social Worker has any concerns about your care or feels you need extra support, they will not wait until supervision meetings or reviews but deal with any issues as they arise.